FROM THE DEAN: Welcome to Fall 2012


This is an exciting time in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Arlington. We are one of seven emerging tier-one institutions in the state, we are experiencing record growth, and we are very proud of the achievements of our faculty, students, and alumni.

I hope that your summer was relaxing and stimulating and that you are ready to re-enter our academic community. We’re happy to let you know about several new developments and achievements.

Recently, four faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts were recognized by the UT system with Regents Outstanding Teaching Awards as part of the seven faculty from UT Arlington. The UT System recognized 65 faculty members across the state. Four of UT Arlington’s honorees are in the College of Liberal Arts: Dr. Elisabeth Cawthon (Associate Professor of History), Dr. Christopher Conway (Associate Professor of Spanish), Dr. Jonathan Davis-Secord (Lecturer in both English and Philosophy) and Dr. Victoria Farrar-Myers (Professor of Political Science).  UT Arlington’s students – graduate and undergraduate, majors or majors in other fields — are fortunate to have the opportunity to study with these dedicated, creative, and excellent faculty members.

We began the Fall 2012 semester with MavsMeet. I always consider this an especially meaningful occasion for the College of Liberal Arts as well as UT Arlington. As always, the marching band performed beautifully. It’s very impressive not only how well they perform but how quickly they reach this standard after such a short time of preparation (only four days – in record heat). This time we also had the pleasure of hearing Michael Varner lead the World Percussion Ensemble. Professor Varner was the faculty mentor of Jesus Martinez, whose original musical composition Threnody for 9/11 was recently honored by the Texas Legislature. The keynote speaker was David Silva (Professor of Linguistics and Vice-Provost), whose address was exceptional: combining humor, sage advice, warmth and inspiration. It was a magnificent occasion and a wonderful way to enter the new academic year.

We begin the semester also with historic news about the University of Texas at Arlington as a whole. President Spaniolo has announced that he will step down once his successor is chosen by the University of Texas System. A presidential search advisory committee has been formed, with representatives of all constituencies on campus, in the community, and throughout the UT system. This semester our Center for African American Studies begins its activities, under the direction of Dr. Schnavia Hatcher. The donation of William Blair’s collection of documents to the Library’s Special Collections will be one of the many places in which the African American experience will be studied and celebrated on our campus. Meanwhile, our enrollment and achievements are reaching new heights. Do you think that we will have 34,000 students? Stay tuned!

We hired 14 tenure-stream faculty members last year: people with degrees from the best programs in the nation and the world (Yale, Ohio State University, Eastman School of Music, Geneva’s Graduate Institute of International and Developmental Studies); people who have received honors such as a Guggenheim fellowship and national grant awards from the Mellon Foundation and the National Science Foundation in support of their research and creative activity in such areas as painting, international peace and stability operations, and medical anthropology. These excellent faculty members accepted our offer because they want to work with us and they value what we are already doing. We have been invited to propose searches for new faculty and we know that the extraordinary opportunities at our campus will result in new hires in the coming year with similar capabilities and rising reputations.

Throughout the year we will continue to be in touch with you, and let you know some of the ways our faculty and our students are using their knowledge and their talents to have an in their discipline, their community, and around the world. For now, welcome to Fall 2012. I wish you a wonderful semester.

Dr. Beth Wright
Dean of Liberal Arts

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